You might not have heard about Dan and Charlotte Peyerk from Michigan. Charlotte was arrested for illegally killing a grizzly bear in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Her son Mark was also convicted and they were ordered to pay fines of $25,000 and $30,000 respectively.
In court, it was mentioned that the Peyerks tried to alter the date on their camera so that the trophy pictures would show that the bear was shot during the hunting season. The Peyerks also falsified the date of the kill on a state harvest tag and on a Safari Club International trophy entry form.
Later hunts were more successful, according to federal prosecutors. U.S. District Court magistrate Scott Oravec was apparently offended by the lengths to which the Peyerks went to cover up their poaching. “In imposing sentence, (he) commented that besides the illegal taking of wildlife, the more aggravated criminal conduct was the defendants’ multiple written false statements to cover up the illegal kill,” the government’s press release said.
This is typical of the behaviors of these trophy hunters. That is why usually the first thing that comes out of their mouths is “The hunt was legal“! Killing animals such as lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hippos, zebra and rare antelope, deer and sheep for sport ought not to be legal and many people amazed that it is. Anyone with enough money can go to any one of a number of sites on the internet and buy a permit to kill these animals.
There is a bloodbath going on not just because of poaching, but through the legal killing of animals whose lives are sold for hard cash. The law must be changed to protect them before it’s too late as more and more species and sub-species become endangered or extinct.
Astonishingly this is the hobby of many wealthy people in the US, who would rather obsessively travel the globe to kill as many animals as possible of as many different species as possible – including rare and endangered animals which most of them particularly relish and will pay small fortunes for the permit to kill – rather than to help animals or people.
Each year tens of thousands of animals are killed by US hunters in foreign countries. The body parts are legally imported back into the US. While the Endangered Species Act only allows importation of endangered species for scientific research, there are loopholes allowing trophy imports.
Pro-trophy hunters argue this is good for conservation. Their stance is that the money spent on the hunt is poured back into the community for conservation efforts. In reality, research published by the International Council of Game and Wildlife Conservation (a pro-hunting group) shows that only 3% of revenue from hunts goes back to local communities.
Other research has shown that hunting has almost no benefit whatever to the local communities, although it usually does have a detrimental effect, as it inevitably has a negative impact on local ecosystems. There are links to a number of these articles on the Welcome page of this blog.
In contrast, ecotourism is a $77 billion global industry, employing tour operators, guides, lodge and restaurant employees. vehicle drivers, park guards and people who benefit from the sale of souvenirs.
According to the Alaska Dispatch – like so many other trophy hunters, who often become obsessed with their ‘hobby’ – big game pursuits in all corners of the globe soon became Charlotte Peyerk’s passion, and her list of accomplishments is truly impressive. Charlotte’s hunts include 26 countries on five continents. She has taken far more than 174 animals to date of which hundreds are registered with SCI (Safari Club International), and she has taken 17 species of sheep in five years.
In spite of the fact that she was convicted by a federal court for illegally hunting the bear, Charlotte Peyerk was awarded the club’s (Safari Club International) Diana Award in 2010, on top of that Charlotte is also listed as vice chairwoman of the award selection committee.
You would think that the Ethics Committee will censure Charlotte, and strip her of her Diana Award, and cancel her membership. Instead the Safari Club International promotes this “stamp collector” approach to hunting with various levels of awards. There are mutterings within the hunting community that SCI members regularly flaunt rules by engaging in shady hunts. The awards are terribly important to these trophy hunters because these Safari hunting Clubs offers dozens of awards for killing an assortment of its more than 500 different “record book” animals, ranking the biggest tusks, horns, antlers, skulls and bodies of hunted animals. Hunters receive “Grand Slam” and “Inner Circle” award trophies, among others, for shooting a prescribed list of animals. For example, the “Trophy Animals of Africa” award requires the hunter to kill 79 different African species to win the highest honor.
SCI has an award for “Introduced Trophy Animals of North America,” glorifying hunters who frequent captive hunting ranches. To earn every SCI award at the minimum level, a hunter must kill at least 171 different animals. Many members go well beyond that number. Some of these hunters have more than 600 different animals listed in SCI’s record books.
SCI has dozens of award categories like:
The Diana Award to encourage women to hunt.
The Young Hunter Award to encourage children to hunt.
The International Hunting Award, based on the number and quality of trophies, the number of countries hunted in, total number of hunts taken and the level of entries in the record book.
The World Conservation & Hunting Award, which has nothing to do with conservation. Rather, hunters must kill more than 300 species on six continents.
World Hunting Award Rings require 11 Grand Slams, 17 Inner Circle Awards at the Diamond Level, the Fourth Pinnacle of Achievement and the Crowning Achievement Award—which amounts to a huge menagerie of dead animals.
Inner Circle Awards include Trophy Animals of Africa, Spiral-horned Antelopes of Africa, Pygmy Antelopes of Africa, Wild Turkey Trophy Animals of North America, Introduced Animals of North America, Trophy Animals of South America, Antlered Game of the Americas, Trophy Animals of Europe, Trophy Animals of Asia, Trophy Animals of the South Pacific, Wild Pigs and Peccaries of the World, Antlered Game of the World, Mountain Game of the World, Wild Sheep of the World, Chamois of the World, Red Deer/Wapiti of the World, Predators of the World, Ibex of the World, Gazelles of the World, Wild Oxen of the World and Wild Goats of the World.
Grand Slams, including the African Big Five, Dangerous Game of Africa, African 29, North American 29, Cats of the World, Bears of the World, North American Wild Sheep, North American Elk, North American Caribou, North American Deer, White-tailed Deer of the World, European Deer, Moose of the World, South American Indigenous Animals and Wild Turkey.
Trophy hunters are usually very competitive and love to show off. No wonder hunters like Charlotte, Melissa Bachmann, Olivia Nacos Opre, Corey Knowlton, the Schockey family and and many, many more must have been under sufficient pressure to kill so many animals to win these awards!
Time has come that we should stop these Safari hunting Clubs from encouraging such excesses and the endless quest for sick awards to those who have lots of spare money and who call themselves “conservationists”?
This is a matter of kill as many animals as you can in as many continents as you can in the shortest time to be awarded all these trophies.
This is the most disgusting sick sport ever and must be stopped!
I am sure that if the general public knew this was happening, the vast majority would not agree that hunting ought to be a pastime at all – particularly trophy hunting – and there are estimates that would be around 95% of the general population.
To normal right-thinking people these practices would be abhorrent and if people knew what was going on there would be such an outcry that laws would be passed to make these practices illegal. Yet most people don’t even know that this is happening.
Let’s share the heck out of this article, with friends, family, and anyone and everyone else we know on or outside of Facebook.
The best way to help the animals is to tell the world what is going on, as there are far too many people who don’t know.
Safari Club International Awards and animal hit lists, awards and recipients: http://member.scifirstforhunters.org/static/WHA/